published Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Former Greenlife building in North Chattanooga getting retailers

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    The original Greenlife Grocery building in North Chattanooga.
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The original Greenlife Grocery building in North Chattanooga will soon see new life along with a long vacant service station across the street.

Four retail shops are slated to go into the 8,000-square-foot ex-Greenlife Grocery on Hixson Pike, said owner Chuck Pruett.

"It will really add a lot of value to that area," said Pruett. "It will create a better shopping experience."

He said plans are to reorient the front of the building toward Hixson Pike, and each of the retailers will have their own entrance.

"We're doing a new facade facing Hixson Pike," Pruett said.

Alice Blue, a women's clothing store next door on Dorchester Road, will shift to the renovated building, said manager Grace Reynolds.

Also, plans are to open a men's clothing and accessory location called Hanover Blue, she said.

Reynolds said its new space is to be ready in August.

Pruett declined to name the other retailers, saying he wanted them to make their own announcements.

In addition, he said a new eatery, Farmers Daughter Cafe, is to open in a few weeks nearly across Hixson Pike in a revamped former Exxon station.

Pruett said Mike Mayo and his wife, Ann Keener, will operate the restaurant while he will retain the building.

Concerning the Greenlife building, he said he had tried to find a single user for the structure, which has been empty since the grocery moved to Manufacturers Road in 2007. In 2010, Greenlife was bought by Texas-based Whole Foods, which changed the store's name in 2012.

Pruett said he couldn't come up with the right single user for the Hixson Pike facility, so he is building out the interior to the four retail spaces. He estimated the cost of the work on the structure at about $175,000.

The original Greenlife Grocery opened in North Chattanooga in 1999. Pruett said at the 10th anniversary in 2009 that he was a little concerned about introducing an organic grocery to the Scenic City on what was then a large scale.

"It was something I was excited about, but on the other side, I was nervous because I'd put everything I ever had into it, including mortgaging my house," he said then.

Chattanoogans bought into the idea of organic food, though it took a couple of years to catch on, Pruett said.

"The first three years were tough," he said.

In 2007, the new Greenlife debuted on Manufacturers Road at 27,000 square feet, more than triple the size of the original location.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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